If you ask me what you shouldn’t miss in Thailand, I would say Krabi. But where do you stay in Krabi? The choice is obvious for Ao Nang is the most popular destinations in Krabi, a small beach town that’s home to some finest resorts, budget hotels, hostels, restaurants, and bars. In addition to its beauty, the widest range of accommodation makes most tourists pick this location. Ao Nang is also an ideal place to stay so as to explore the rest of Krabi; be it the nearby beaches, islands, markets, the town or even the airport. You can reach most of the beaches by scooter or taxi and in some cases, only via a boat.
I know a lot of people who wouldn’t consider Thailand as a holiday option. Furthermore, if they do, it means only heading to Bangkok and Pattaya. We are talking about our relatives and close friends who assured us that Thailand visit shouldn’t be more than three days. Well, well. We went a step ahead and planned a 14-day trip, all by ourselves, without the help of any travel agencies but with the guidance and inputs from friends who’d visited the place. And if I’ve decided to write a minimum of 26 posts this April only about Thailand, you can be rest assured that it is a beautiful place to see.
How to reach Ao Nang:
If you are staying in Bangkok or Pattaya, take an overnight luxury bus and it should take about 12 hours to reach the Krabi town. You can then opt for a taxi or a mini-van to reach Ao Nang, which is about 15 kilometers from the town. Husband and I were staying in Phuket and wanted to head to Krabi. We were told to take a taxi from Phuket that would drop us in about four hours.
We realized, however, there was a faster option; to take a ferry! For about 600-650 Baht/pax one can reach Ao Nang in two hours from Phuket or Phi Phi Islands. We decided that time was more important than money and found a ferry that took off at 8.30 am from Phuket and Ta-Da! We were at the Nopparat Thara Pier, Ao Nang by 10.30 am. You can choose to sit on the deck watching the beautiful sceneries unravel in front of you (Oh, don’t forget to apply loads of sunscreen), or sit inside in the upper or lower deck. Our journey was spectacular with glimpses of islands and we lounged in the morning sun on the upper deck.
Nopparat Thara Pier is Ao Nang’s prime arrival point by boat. It acts as the hub for ferries traveling to and from the great surrounding islands and peninsulas. Taking a ferry was a convenient option as the booking included a pick up from the hotel in Phuket/Phi Phi Islands to a drop to our hotel in Ao Nang.
The nearest airport to Ao Nang is the Krabi International Airport. Quite a number of flights operate from Bangkok and Chang Mai and also from international destinations like Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. You can reach the airport in a taxi or tuk-tuk (our good old auto-rickshaws) for 600 Baht/pax. Airport buses are also available which will cost you 150 Baht/pax.
On our journey to our hotel in Ao Nang, we noticed something! No accommodation is situated along the beach, i.e. directly on the sand with the exception of Krabi Resort. But they are all ideally located, in around 500 meters to 1-kilometer vicinity making the beach accessible for one and all.
Why Ao Nang in Krabi?
Ao Nang Beach is the main beach of the resort town of Ao Nang. It is about one kilometer long and is favored among the tourists especially at sunset.
I wouldn’t say it is one of the spectacular beaches in Krabi. There aren’t too many shady spots and many longtail boats leave from here to the nearby beaches. There are distinct areas where you can swim without worrying about the boats, but it isn’t nice anyway.
But for 100 Baht/pax, you can get a ticket to the nearby popular beaches such as Tonsai beach, Railey beach or Phang Nang Beach from Ao Nang. The scenery with all those limestone cliffs makes the beach experience unique for many travelers. This ticket is valid for a day but the last boat leaves at 6 pm.
Long-tail boats are the traditional wooden boats which are native to Southeast Asia, especially Thailand. If you are here, do not miss a long-tail boat journey for they are particularly popular and it really gives you the Thailand-feel.
One can also opt for Island tours from Ao Nang, where they take you to 3/4/5/7 islands depending on your package. You can do snorkeling, kayaking, canoeing, scuba diving, rock climbing and other adventure activities.
It started drizzling on our evening in Ao Nang and so, instead of going for a sunset cruise(which you can do!), we chose to stay back in our hotel room. We sat on the swing with a cup of hot chocolate and enjoyed this spectacular view of Krabi sunset.
Ao Nang at Night
The fairly quiet and relaxed Ao Nang comes to life at night, especially the Beach Road which is lined up with many shops, bars, and restaurants.
Pick up a Chang or Singha beer (the most popular beers in Thailand) and go about exploring the night markets of Ao Nang in the evening. You can spot few live bands performing inside the restaurants. Want to collect souvenirs to take back home? You cannot find a better place.
There are a number of restaurants along the beach road. You can relish Thai, Indian or Continental food. But, no. Never miss Thai food.
Ao Nang is less crowded and is an excellent getaway for the couples on honeymoon. Ao Nang takes pride in being the friendliest in the region. They are helpful and are ready to answer your queries, oh with a smile!
No wonder Thailand is rightly called ‘the Land of Smiles’!
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Stay tuned as I will be talking in detail about some of the exotic islands and shopping, and other attractions the place has to offer.
I am writing all about Thailand this April for the A to Z Challenge 2017. Thanks for all the love you’ve showered on this space! You can also check out my food blog for A to Z Indian Dishes to Die For.